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Do children have property rights independent of parents?

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 thenelli01
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The preamble to the DOI refers to certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness...  so what are the rest of them?  Amendments 9 & 10 of the Constitution also posit rights that aren't enumerated, yet retained/reserved by the people... so what are those??  The presumption appears to be that children as people have many rights that only become numerated when they are in conflict with others, i.e. when someone has suffered an injury.  Therefore the question of injury is appropriate because without it there's no reason to question what right has been violated; one has the right to do as one pleases unless/until it injures another.

 

I drafted this on the fly so it may contain errors I'll address later, but I'll only respond to an animal's rights when I see it in court :P

 

Rights aren't derived from the DOI or the Constitution.

 

And, if you want to use laws as the starting point for rights, we have already seen certain animal rights in court. Consider Connecticut state law:

 

 


 

CT - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Laws   CT ST §§ 53-242 - 254; § 29-108a - 108i This Connecticut section contains the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions.  Any person who overdrives, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, deprives of necessary sustenance, mutilates or cruelly beats or kills or unjustifiably injures any animal, or fails to give an animal in his or her custody proper care, among other things shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both.  An enhanced penalty is provided for any person who maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, wounds or kills an animal (up to $5,000 or imprisonment not more than five years or both).  Animal fighting is also prohibited under this section, with a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years or both.  

 

 

http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/statestatutes/stusctset.htm

Edited by thenelli01
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It would be even more appropriate and instructive to ask: What is the fundamental nature of rights? What principle in ethics gives rise to the principle of rights? What implication does this have for children (or anyone unable to exercise their rights fully)? What is the nature of property rights? Do they differ from other rights somehow (fundamentally)?

I'll give a hint quoted from Ayn Rand: "rights pertain only to action"

 

Technically, you could go even further and you will ultimately end up to questions like: are the senses even valid, etc.

 

Those questions are necessarily implied in my first question, but I agree, and I think you are asking the right questions. Crow Epistemologist touched on these questions earlier - and he was on the right track.

Edited by thenelli01
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Rights aren't derived from the DOI or the Constitution.

Agreed; Nature of Man >> derive >> Moral Concept >> derive >> Legal Concept, e.g. DOI, Constitution.  My reference was to indicate that the question 'what' only becomes necessary to settle conflicts (injury) between social equals, or as Ayn Rand states, "Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times. Therefore, the rights of one man cannot and must not violate the rights of another." ~ Individual Rights, ARL

 

Note that Ayn Rand, et al, never state that children have no rights, or that the implementation of a right to life is delimited to adults.

 

And, if you want to use laws as the starting point for rights, we have already seen certain animal rights in court. Consider Connecticut state law:

We have seen humans defending animals in court, but have yet to see/hear/read an animal ask for such representation...

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I don't understand how someone can own property, but not possession. In the case of the business/employee relationship, possession of property is given by voluntary means (contracts). In the parent/child relationship, the possession is taken away by involuntary means.

The distinction between voluntary and involuntary needs a slight redefinition, because of the blank-slate nature of children.

Would it be moral for you to run out into the street and grab some lady's purse?  What if, unbeknownst to her, there was a bomb inside?

 

Morally and legally, it's an exact parallel to when a parent does certain things for their child's good.

 

What any given person would or would not volunteer for is conditional, depending on context (the context of their current knowledge).  It's exactly this context, or the lack thereof, which is the difference between children and adults.

Accordingly, if a parent forces their child to do anything which is objectively good for them, it's moral- because the child will consent to such action, when they have the requisite knowledge.  The same applies to anything the child owns.

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So a parent's right to confiscate their children's things doesn't necessarily mean they hadn't actually owned them, IF it fits the above criteria (which the vast majority of things do).

 

If you believe that a parent has the right to do anything whatsoever to their children then that's another matter.  But I don't.

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The principle here is that whatever individual X would consent to, if they were aware of all relevant information, one may act as if they have consented to (so long as the relevant information is then supplied, as soon as possible).

 

There is a problem here, in that it isn't always possible to determine what would be consented to if given thus-and-such information; it provides a formidable range of possibilities for error.

But mistakes will happen; I think the principle itself is sound.

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The principle here is that whatever individual X would consent to, if they were aware of all relevant information, one may act as if they have consented to (so long as the relevant information is then supplied, as soon as possible).

 

There is a problem here, in that it isn't always possible to determine what would be consented to if given thus-and-such information; it provides a formidable range of possibilities for error.

But mistakes will happen; I think the principle itself is sound.

Yes, and an appropriate parallel would be the kind of decisions an adult makes makes on behalf of their elderly parent at the loss of an ability to care for themselves.

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The principle here is that whatever individual X would consent to, if they were aware of all relevant information, one may act as if they have consented to (so long as the relevant information is then supplied, as soon as possible).

 

This actually sounds like a variation of ethical reciprocity, e.g. do unto others...  Is there any significant distinction between your principle and the Golden Rule?

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Yes, and an appropriate parallel would be the kind of decisions an adult makes makes on behalf of their elderly parent at the loss of an ability to care for themselves.

Exactly.

 

This actually sounds like a variation of ethical reciprocity, e.g. do unto others...  Is there any significant distinction between your principle and the Golden Rule?

Yes, there is.

The golden rule dictates that one "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" which at no point takes any consideration of THEIR choices or values.  An excellent illustration of this would be a rapist who strictly adheres to the golden rule (to his own delight and his victims' horror).

 

With the principle above, "whatever someone would consent to if aware of X" necessitates some analysis of that person's values and cannot be used the way the golden rule may be.

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It hadn't occurred to me before this, but you're right; the two would be applied in very similar ways towards very similar ends.  But that's the important distinction:

 

One principle recognizes the contextuality of consent and simply allows you to act accordingly; the other allows you to substitute your value-judgments (which are much like personal preferences) for someone else's.

Coincidentally, in every example I've given throughout this thread of what I would consider tyrranical parenting, one can see this same mechanism at work.

 

If you confiscate an eight-year-old's cigarettes, you're protecting them from their own ignorance.  If you do the same to a 35-year-old, you're protecting them from their own values.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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The golden rule dictates that one "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" which at no point takes any consideration of THEIR choices or values.  An excellent illustration of this would be a rapist who strictly adheres to the golden rule (to his own delight and his victims' horror).

 

With the principle above, "whatever someone would consent to if aware of X" necessitates some analysis of that person's values and cannot be used the way the golden rule may be.

The two may be closer than you think; examine the two forms...

 

1) Whatever individual X would consent to, if they were aware of all relevant information, one may act as if they have consented to (so long as the relevant information is then supplied, as soon as possible).

 

2) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

 

Unless a rapist desires being raped, the Golden Rule doesn't apply, any more than a murderer desires being murdered, or a thief desires being stolen from.  However the Golden Rule does infer what your individual X would consent to, because the standard the inference is derived from is oneself.  This is particularily true of the relationship between parents and children, or of adults and their enfeebled parents.  Whenever another is unable to speak for themselves, one may infer they would desire the same rights as oneself and act accordingly.  Do for individual X as you would have individual X do for you (were the situation reversed); a parent chooses for their children as they would have their children choose for them later on in life if necessary.

 

You might argue there are choices of preference between individuals that don't coincide, however I believe the underlying right being acted on actually does.  For example the Golden Rule doesn't establish that all individuals desire having steak for dinner, but it does establish that all individuals desire being allowed to eat.  Similarily the right to pursue happiness doesn't depend on all individuals finding the same happiness, or even guarentees happiness for all individuals; only that all individuals desire happiness and ought to be allowed to pursue it.

 

In the case of a right to property, parents administrate their children's property in the same manner that they would have their children administrate their own if/when they became incapacitated; to behave otherwise establishes the expectation of being stripped of ownership whenever one cannot manage ones own affairs.  Again, the unavoidabe conclusion, unless one desires moral inequities, is to presume an equal distribution of inalienable rights such that all individuals are able to act when they are capable of acting; not rightless unless they are capable of acting.

 

Children have the same right to property their parents do, along with everyone else; albeit a latent right that becomes more active as an adult, and dormant during periods of mental infirmity.  What I'm taking from discussion of this topic is a fuller understanding of inalienable rights than the all or nothing attitude previously held.  When Ayn Rand states, "The only 'obligation' involved in individual rights is an obligation imposed, not by the state, but by the nature of reality (i.e., by the law of identity): consistency, which, in this case, means the obligation to respect the rights of others, if one wishes one’s own rights to be recognized and protected", i.e. ethical reciprocity.

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Unless a rapist desires being raped, the Golden Rule doesn't apply,

True.  That's the problem, though; what about rapists who do want to be raped?

The Columbine shooters explicitly wanted to die; ethical reciprocity alone gives no reason why they shouldn't have killed.

 

However the Golden Rule does infer what your individual X would consent to, because the standard the inference is derived from is oneself.

That's a rather large assumption.  The way our society treats smokers today is another shining example of the golden rule run rampant (if you were an addict, wouldn't you want the government to help you quit?  The very proposition assumes that everyone is essentially the same as and interchangeable with anyone else).

 

You might argue there are choices of preference between individuals that don't coincide, however I believe the underlying right being acted on actually does.  For example the Golden Rule doesn't establish that all individuals desire having steak for dinner, but it does establish that all individuals desire being allowed to eat.

 

This last bit is actually exactly right, but has something more in it implicitly than the golden rule.

 

Ethical reciprocity isn't wrong or evil, as such; it's just insufficient.  If one were to live according to it, and exclusively it, one would ultimately treat everyone else like highly-pampered cattle (see Barack Obama).

If you can stop and realize explicitly the reasoning which you left implicit right there, in the above statement, then you'll know what I mean.

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Ethical reciprocity isn't wrong or evil, as such; it's just insufficient.  If one were to live according to it, and exclusively it, one would ultimately treat everyone else like highly-pampered cattle (see Barack Obama).

If you can stop and realize explicitly the reasoning which you left implicit right there, in the above statement, then you'll know what I mean.

I think the key is to understand ethical reciprocity not as a substitute for knowledge, but as a philosophical starting point to relationships; and you are correct that it's insufficient on its own.  It would be wrong to continue presuming a shared value with others once actual interaction proves otherwise.

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It would be wrong to continue presuming a shared value with others once actual interaction proves otherwise.

That's part of it, yes.

The other part is that not all values are equal.  I may enjoy steak while someone else may be vegetarian; once I know that it would be proper for me to respect that decision.  But if I enjoy life while they enjoy killing, their values be damned; I'll not allow them to make that choice.

 

The specific hierarchy of values involved (which is what gives rise to the hierarchy of rights) is determined by morality.

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The other part is that not all values are equal.  I may enjoy steak while someone else may be vegetarian; once I know that it would be proper for me to respect that decision.  But if I enjoy life while they enjoy killing, their values be damned; I'll not allow them to make that choice.

Not all values are the same in terms of flavor, temperature, smell, sight, i.e., in terms of preference, but the value of choice is inherently equal in terms of preservation.  I believe the individual rights enumerated in the DOI and Constitution could be more accurately condensed and referred to as the right of self-determination, without which independence remains undefined.  Individuals who choose to transgress the right of self-determination invite retaliation by those who choose to defend this right.

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  • 1 year later...

I agree with A is A.

 

Though a child does not legally own anything, ownership is the key to western civilization and a core of individual rights - property rights.  This should be paramount as a concept to instill in our young from as early on as possible.

 

The sharing instinct does not kick in until the ownership one has.  One cannot share what one does not own.

 

The closer we adhere to the Trader Principle in our relationships, the closer we come to World Peace.  One cannot trade what one does not own.

 

Keeping a toy just because, losing friends in the process, is just plain stupid and well within a parent's motivation to correct.  But this must not be be done at the expense of the child's concept of ownership.

 

 

 

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